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You’ve heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away…” but what about the dentist? You may wonder what impact healthy eating can have on teeth and what you can do to improve your oral hygiene overall. The truth is, healthy eating and oral health are indeed related.
According to the CDC, nearly 19 percent of children and nearly 31 percent of adults have untreated dental caries, or cavities. Nearly 85 percent of kids have seen a dentist in the past year, compared with 64 percent of adults and 62 percent of seniors. That’s a lot of people NOT going to the dentist!
Studies have shown that good dental hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing daily, as well as visiting the dentist twice a year, are key in maintaining not only oral health, but overall physical health too. A big component of this is the food you put in your mouth. Let’s go over how your diet affects dental hygiene in Studio City.
The foods you choose to put in your body can and do have an effect on your general health and the health of your teeth and gums. Drinking too much soda, fruit juice, and eating non-nutritious snacks put you at a higher risk for tooth decay, which happens to be the most common chronic childhood disease – one that is entirely preventable, as the American Dental Association points out.
Tooth decay results when plaque meets sugar. That acidic substance goes on the attack and coats the teeth and gums. This is when gingivitis and cavities can develop. Foods containing sugar of any kind can contribute to the decay of your teeth. You may ask: don’t apples and other fruits have sugar in them? The answer is yes, they do.
And you should absolutely brush your teeth after eating an apple, orange (very acidic) or any other fruit for that matter. However, the health benefits that come along with those fruits can’t be ignored. Fruit is a natural food, containing many vital nutrients for your teeth, especially:
To figure out how much fruit and other healthy foods you should be eating per day, follow the USDA’s Choose My Plate guidelines, which illustrate the five food groups that form the building blocks of a healthy diet. In general, you should be having three to four servings of fruit every day. If you reach for processed products like dried fruit and juice, always check the label because they usually have loads of added sugar. Go with low-sugar options, or just stick with fresh fruit when you can.
If you are still unsure how to build a healthy diet for your teeth, consult with your dentist or a registered dietitian, who can suggest tips for a nutritious diet. It’s important to note that if you are lacking certain nutrients, it becomes more difficult for the tissues in your mouth to keep infections at bay. This can lead to severe gum disease, which is a top cause of tooth loss in adults. Studies show this disease progresses more rapidly in those with poor nutritional habits.
For top-notch dental health, try these tips:
Limit the number of snacks you eat in between meals. The foods you eat during a meal are less likely to cause damage because you produce a lot more saliva at meal time than at random snack times throughout the day. Saliva washes food particles out of your mouth, reducing the effect that acids can have.
And of course, remember to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day. Regular dental care is the key to preventing oral problems from happening and catching small issues before they become big ones.
If it’s time for your twice-yearly dental visit, request an appointment online, or contact us at 818-762-2977. We have flexible and convenient hours throughout the week, making it easy for you to enjoy good dental hygiene in Studio City.